We’ve all had those bone tired, completely exhausted days.
Whether the exhaustion is from a pregnancy, a sick toddler keeping you up all night, a to-do list longer than hours in the day, or the million other ways motherhood will wear you out, if you are a Mom you’ve been there. Likely many times over.
This week the collision of the normal Mom exhaustion, plus a sleepless night with the kids had me wondering how I’d make it through the day. The kind of day when two BIG cups of coffee and 3 sodas might as well have been decaf.
When one of those days hits, how can you make it through the day? Today I’m sharing my best tricks from 13+ years of making it through motherhood’s most exhausting days.
Exhausted Mom Hacks- How to Get Through the Day
Sneak in a small break. 15 or 20 minutes of a break a few times a day can help you recharge enough to make it just a few more hours. Turn on a cartoon, use electronics, do whatever it takes to allow 15 minutes of sitting quietly to recharge.
Move around. When exhaustion is at it’s worst and a nap is impossible, get moving. Forcing your body to move briskly will make you feel more awake. Try taking a walk around the neighborhood, or turn up the music and dance, or in a pinch run up and down the stairs a few times.
Hydrate. While it’s tempting to load up on caffeinated drinks, remember to stay hydrated with water too. I’m very guilty of turning to caffeination to make it through the day myself. I often flavor my water with a cucumber slice, lemon or even flavored drops to help convince myself to drink more water on tired days. Try to caffeinate in moderation.
Eat. When exhausted and busy it is easy to not eat or to reach for sugary snacks. Try eating foods high in protein to help make it through the day. Greek yogurt, peanut butter and apples, a boiled egg, sandwich meat with cheese and crackers are all easy and good snack choices.
Chop off the unnecessary. Give yourself a break on the most tired days. Look at your to do list and slash it down to only the non-negotiable.
Call quiet time. Enforce a short quiet time for the entire household- mom included! If your children are old enough, turn on a movie for the kids while you nap on the sofa.
You might have to get creative about how to get quiet time, especially with very young children. When I was dealing with newborn exhaustion and also had a toddler, whose naps never lined up, I had to get creative on the days after a night of no sleep. I’d go into the completely baby-proofed nursery with the girls, shut the door and lay right in front of it (as if my one year old could actually reach the handle- that’s the logic newborn fog leaves you with). Then I’d set an alarm clock for 15 minutes.
That 15 (almost) guilt free minutes of shutting my eyes while my toddler daughter played beside me and the baby napped in the crib saved my sanity many days.
Change the scenery. Sometimes getting out of the house breaks up the mundane and helps the day go faster. Meet friends at the park or go to the library. Choose an outing that will not stress you out. This is not the day for a large, tedious grocery shopping trip.
Get help if possible. Call a friend for a playdate- then take turns napping while one adult watches the children. Hire a local teenager as mother’s helper.
Fix it. When you finally get the kids to bed on a day full of exhaustion, it’s easy to get a second wind and try to run through the to-do list that was neglected during the day. Don’t do it. Put those babies to bed and crawl right into your own bed. Let your body try for the rest it needs, and hope the children’s overnight sleep cooperates with that need. Another day is coming, the to-do list can wait.
Hang in there Mama. Bedtime is coming.